Solo Sojourn to Bali

Tripoto
23rd Jun 2018

Bliss in Bali

Photo of Solo Sojourn to Bali by Saurav Basu
Day 1

Bird's Eye View - just moments before touching down at Singapore. There are no direct flights from Bangalore to Bali - going via Singapore is the fastest and easiest option. On my onward journey, I had a 2 hour layover at Singapore - pretty much chilled at the airport. If you have a valid US visa (any type) - you can take a 96-hour Visa Free Transit Facility (VFTF) to go around Singapore. You just have to fill-up a simple form, with your outbound journey scheduled from SIN within 96 hours. This can be helpful if you have a longer layover here. I took a longer stopover at SIN on my way back, just to make use of this facility and explore the country a bit :)

Photo of Airport Boulevard, Changi Airport Singapore (SIN), Singapore by Saurav Basu

Reached Bali late evening (you lose time while flying from India, it's 2.5hours ahead of India) - but almost every place in Seminyak is pretty much open until 4am. As soon as I reached my hostel, I parked my luggage, freshened up and headed straight to the street leading to the Seminyak beach. It's lined up with all sorts of bars, restaurants and quite a few clubs. Please try Bintang, the local beer. The Radler one has a dash of lemon zest to it - which makes it even more refreshing, especially if you're sitting out on a hot sunny day. I think I had more Bintang Radler than water on my trip - it has a low alcohol content as well (c. 3% v/v) so you shouldn't feel guilty / tipsy at all.

Photo of Seminyak, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu
Day 2

First breakfast in Bali - and I love to kickstart my day with an Americano or Espresso. Revolver Espresso - is a gem of a place, tucked away from the main street of restaurants. It's not very easy to spot, as you have to take a slight detour through a narrow lane from the street - but have your GPS on, and keep looking around - you should be able to spot a board which shall direct you here. Once I reached here - the narrow door actually opened up to a much larger place, which was surprisingly quite crowded as well (at 11am). What you see on my table - Gypsy Joker (Kale, Avocado, Grilled Chicken and Poached Egg salad topped with Feta), along with a long black and an espresso martini (because vacay!) There's a lot online mentioned about being mindful / avoiding drinks which have arak (local alcohol) as base - as it's not manufactured properly and can have methanol. Make sure, you are having arak based drinks at good places - as going in for cheap alcohol may not be the best idea at times. Good bars make sure arak is sourced from trusted manufacturers, which won't have methanol contamination. This becomes important - especially if you're traveling solo.

Photo of Revolver Espresso, Seminyak, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

My first solo trip - and this was already turning into a sumptuous food trip. I had kept my day pretty relaxed as per the plan. As I was staying in Seminyak, and I had not caught a glimpse of the sea yet - I decided to hit the Seminyak Beach. In main island Bali - Seminyak and Kuta are the 2 most famous beaches (and obviously attracts the highest amount of tourist footfall). Kuta is far more commercialized and crowded with properties sprawling all over the place. Seminyak is a bit more relaxed. As it was my first solo trip, I strategically placed myself closer to where more people are, as I was apprehensive - but it's your choice on where you want to stay. Besides, Seminyak and Kuta are closest to the airport (15-20 mins). Kuta and Seminyak share the same strip of a long beach - you can actually walk it down to reach Kuta from Seminyak or the other way round (c. 1.5km). I retired myself to a good lunch made up of a sticky rice and red snapper fish with pesto (if you love fish - your palate is going to have a treat, when you visit Bali), along with a Bintang and a book. Mr. Mark Manson's words actually go well when you're all by yourself reflecting on life.

Photo of Double Six Beach, Jalan Double Six, Seminyak, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

After the sumptuous lunch - I just walked out to the bean bags along with umbrella sheds most of the restaurants lay out on the beach. It was time I started doing what I love the most - clicking pictures. This shot was clicked at around 3:30pm local time, about 2 hours before sunset. The sea was calm and the wet sand actually coupled up for a great reflection shot

Photo of Seminyak Beach, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu
Day 3

Doors of Heaven at Pura Lempuyang (See picture below) - Bali is inundated with temples. Pura implies temple in Balienese language. This is about 95kms (2.5 hour-drive) from Seminyak. Hired a car for Day 3 in going around mainland Bali. This temple is very close from Ubud (about 40kms) - so if you're staying in Ubud, you should definitely park a half day for this. Once you reach the foot of the temple - you'll HAVE to wear a sarong (available on rent there), as per tradition. It's then about 20min hike up - it's well built with stairs, make sure you have decent sneakers, the stairs are somewhat steep and may not the most comfortable to tread with slippers. The temple has a few levels, and there are a different courtyards at each level. Just before you reach the top most part of the temple - you'll have a big courtyard in front of you with this vertical arch pair. The temple is situated on a hill opposite Mt. Agung (which is a dormant / recently more active volcano). When you stand between this arch - you'll get a view of Agung (if you're lucky - it was a bit overcast, when I visited). Nevertheless, I had a chance to get this great picture clicked, which would have looked even more serene, if Agung was visible. There's a huge queue for getting this picture clicked - I waited for about 40 mins to get clicked. Would suggest you visit a little earlier in the morning. There's a guy who sits diametrically opposite the arch and you can give him your phone / camera to click your photo (please tip around 4-8k IDR = INR 20-40, he won't ask for anything though). The view is actually breathtaking if you're around sunset with golden Mt. Agung in front of you and I leave it to your imagination, how mind blowing the shot would be :)

Photo of Pura Lempuyang Luhur, West Seraya, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

Final hike-up these stairs will take you to the topmost courtyard of the Lempuyang temple. I was lucky to witness a ritual going on here, and only women were allowed to enter the courtyard and worship in there ( felt good - as I saw the first temple in my life which is not patriarchal) :)

Photo of Pura Lempuyang Luhur, West Seraya, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

On my way back to the city from Lempuyang, I treated myself to the local delicacy - Babi Guling (Roasted Pork) with sticky rice and curry. Aah it was lip-smacking to say the least! :)

Photo of Babi Guling Pak Malen, Seminyak, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

Up next - witnessed sunset at Potato Head Beach Club. This is one of the most famous clubs in Bali, which is expensive, and has a huge area and a big pool. You would find a fine gentry here, and the drinks here are obviously a tad bit expensive, but you wouldn't mind given the experience you get. If you love heavy bodied beers - make sure you have STARK, a Balinese dark wheat beer, which was really good and I didn't find this anywhere else on the island.

Photo of Potato Head Beach Club, Jalan Petitenget, Kerobokan Kelod, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu
Day 5

The best ever vegan breakfast I have had - I had the coconut milk based yogurt smoothie bowl along with pancakes and honey. I'm not a vegan but I wanted to try this place - this place opens up at 7am, it's right on the beach, and I was one of the first ones to get here. The place is super pretty, and I shall let the picture do the talking :)

Photo of Ginger & Jamu, Jungutbatu, Klungkung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu
Day 4

Sometimes you need a perspective, sometimes a drink. I'll take the latter here.

Photo of Nusa Lembongan, Jungutbatu, Klungkung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

AirBnB Accommodation at Nusa Lembongang - for just INR 1.4k a night

Photo of Nusa Lembongan, Jungutbatu, Klungkung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

Patio right outside the room - the property is situated on the beach

Photo of Nusa Lembongan, Jungutbatu, Klungkung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

If you're in Indonesia - you just cannot miss out on having Mi (Noodles) Goreng (Fried)or Nasi (Rice) Goreng - I smashed this in 10 mins :D

Photo of Nusa Lembongan, Jungutbatu, Klungkung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu
Day 6

Savouring myself some Kopi Luwak - if you are in Ubud, there is no dearth of cute cafes, which offer an array of coffees that you can choose from. Bali is famous for coffee - so make sure you hop by one of the roasters and get back yourself a pack or two of some of their specialty coffees.

Photo of Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

Spotting this Shitzu on may way cycling up to Tegalalang rice fields

Photo of Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

There's something majestic about these paddy fields

Photo of Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Jalan Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

Cycled up 10kms to reach these paddy fields - just immersed myself in the view with some iced Americano. It was worth every sweat droplet I shed cycling up for this

Photo of Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Jalan Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

Never let the child inside you die... :)

Photo of Bali Swing, Jalan Dewi Saraswati, Bongkasa Pertiwi, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

Another iconic place to get clicked - this one was just for the gram :P

Photo of Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Jalan Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu
Day 7

Finally moved down to the coast towards Kuta. Went to chill by the Padang Padang beach in the afternoon. Can you spot the fish?

Photo of Padang Padang Beach, Pecatu, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

And then to catch the last sunset on this beautiful island - I sat by the cliff at the Rock Bar Bali, admiring the natural beauty this coastline has to offer

Photo of Rock Bar, Sejahtera, Jl. Karang Mas, Jimbaran, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

And I could just sit by here for ages, getting lost into nothingness and introspection. A clichéd and serene ending to a solo trip - this was such a liberating experience for me.

Photo of Rock Bar, Sejahtera, Jl. Karang Mas, Jimbaran, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

I've always made it a point to absorb as much local culture as possible - especially cuisine and local beer, when I travel. To end my trip - I went to a Warung ( a home kitchen, as it roughly translates in Indonesian) to have some authentic Indonesian food. The decor, the charm of the place and the food - I just could not imagine a better way to end my trip to Bali.

Photo of Made's Warung, Seminyak, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

(R)Amen.

Photo of Made's Warung, Seminyak, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

Being a Bengali - the Indonesian food was so appealing to my palate that I just couldn't resist myself from digging into this plate with my hands. Guess what, the locals have food with hands too :)

Photo of Made's Warung, Seminyak, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu

And it's time to wrap up the 28th country - off to Singapore next (will post that as a separate story). I strongly encourage everyone to take the leap of faith and travel solo once in a while, yes you have to plan it out well and you may feel the jitters. But once you step on that plane, trust me - all the apprehensions fade away. :)

Day 8
Photo of Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), Jalan Raya Gusti Ngurah Rai, Tuban, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saurav Basu
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